After Artek, the Finnish furniture design powerhouse, turned 75 in 2010 their goal was to expand their time-honored collection of furniture that Alvar Aalto developed in the 30's and 40's and begin collaborations with like-minded architects and designers. "While valuing traditions Artek has at the same time entered a new era. Combining the ideology of the radical founders and a contemporary and dynamic approach to product development, the company is more art and tech than ever."
At ICFF this year, Artek debuted an expansion of their Kiki collection, which earned Ilmari Tapiovaara the gold prize at the Milan Triennale in 1960. Called the godfather of Nordic modernism, Tapiovaara skyrocketed to fame with his Domus chair collection. An interior architect, he noted that "a chair is not just a seat—it is the key to the whole interior." With the Kiki collection, he furthered his goal to design inexpensive furniture for a broader audience. As opposed to Tapiovaara's more organic forms, Kiki is extremely pared down and clean cut. Made from steel tubing instead of wood—his usual material of choice—the Kiki chairs are stackable and durable, and are one of the most popular pieces of public furniture in Finland. For ICFF, Artek added a range of new color options for the fabric on the chairs, benches, lounges and sofas.
Artek's presentation also included the Lento chair by Harri Koskinen. "Lento," Koskinen said, "means flights and its design can be associated with lightness and airiness." He started designing the collection in 2006, and has recently expanded it to include an upholstered version of the chair and lounge chair. Like Tapiovaara, Koskinen wanted to design something practical and affordable. "He searches for clarity and innovative solutions that meet the needs of the consumer and the manufacturer alike. Lento is a graphic product family, but also pleasantly anonymous."